MPs call for UK to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia – BBC News

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Saudi-backed government forces are fighting Shia rebels in Yemen

The UK should stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia while Saudi actions in neighbouring Yemen are investigated, a draft report by MPs has said.

The Committees on Arms Export Controls said it was highly likely that weapons had been used to violate international humanitarian and human rights laws.

The draft report has been seen by the BBC’s Newsnight programme.

The UK government said it had received assurances from Saudi Arabia but the committee said this was not sufficient.

Establish the facts

The government has faced sustained pressure to suspend the sale of weapons to the country amid claims that international humanitarian law has been breached in fighting between the Yemeni government, backed by Saudi Arabia, and Shia Yemeni rebels.

On Monday, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson defended the selling of arms to Saudi Arabia for potential use in Yemen, insisting the export of weapons to the country would continue.

The Committees on Arms Export Controls is made up of four parliamentary committees – business, innovation and skills; defence; foreign affairs; and international development.

Its draft report, seen by Newsnight’s Gabriel Gatehouse, said: “The weight of evidence of violations of international humanitarian law by the Saudi-led coalition is now so great, that it is very difficult to continue to support Saudi Arabia.”

The committee said it seemed “inevitable” that such violations had involved arms supplied by the UK which would mean it was in violation of its own legal obligations.

The UK government said it operated one of the strictest arms licensing regimes in the world, and maintained it had received assurances from Saudi Arabia that it operated within the boundaries of international law.

The draft report concluded that those assurances were not sufficient and the UK should suspend exports until an international and independent inquiry could establish the facts.

Last month, aid agency Oxfam accused the British government of “denial and disarray” over an agreement to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, which could be used in Yemen.

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House GOP leader vows punishment coming for Democrats over gun sit-in

Washington (CNN)House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy vowed that Democrats who took control of the House floor in June and held a 25-hour sit-in to protest the lack of action on gun control measures will face punishment soon for breaking House rules.

“There are numerous rules that were broken. That’s not the way a democracy works and I think you will see appropriate measure taken in the very near future,” McCarthy told reporters in the Capitol, adding, “Are you going to let the House stand with that behavior going forward? I think it would create real damage to the reputation of the House in the long term.”
    House Republican leaders are discussing several options as potential penalties, including voting on a resolution that condemns the sit-in or leveling fines for rule violations, according to a senior GOP leadership aide familiar with the discussions.
    During the protest in June, dozens of House Democrats sat on the floor in the well, chanted and yelled when Republicans attempted to move onto legislative business, actions which are breaches of floor decorum.
    House Rules include specific parameters for when a member can speak, and whom they can address from the podium in the front of the chamber.
    Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, the civil rights icon who was beaten by police in the 1965 march in Selma, Alabama, was one of the leaders of the effort, which gained national attention. Democrats demanded that the House vote on a bill that would deny gun sales to individuals on a government “no fly list” designed to flag potential threats to airlines. They also urged action on legislation requiring background checks for gun purchases.



      Rep. John Lewis: We’re not giving up the fight


    Several Democrats involved in the protest also used mobile phones to broadcast their demonstration using streaming social media apps after the official cameras that film floor business, which are controlled by the GOP majority, were turned off when the chamber went into recess.
    Despite the high-profile protest, Democrats failed to secure votes on any gun measures.
    After the episode, which forced GOP leaders to abruptly cancel business for the week and start a scheduled recess early, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he was troubled by the precedent it set and told reporters that he and other leaders were investigating with administrators and considering what type of penalties they might impose.
    McCarthy said Tuesday he has spoken with several Democrats about the episode and that they admitted they broke rules and understood there would be consequences.
    Rep Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, told CNN he hadn’t spoken with any GOP leader, or heard from any Democrat who had, but defended the sit-in.
    “Almost every member thinks to themselves we made a point that we need to consider bipartisan legislation sponsored by (GOP Rep. Peter King) that 80% of the America wants,” he told CNN.
    And Hoyer welcomed any punitive moves, saying, “If you want to censure for that, then go to it.”
    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi voiced similar sentiment on any possible punishment in July, quipping about potential penalties threatened by Ryan or other Republicans, “Make my day. Make my day.”

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    Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Eva Longoria, Gavin DeGraw, & More Celebs STILL Own Bars & Restaurants!

    The restaurant industry is a tricky business!

    Plenty of celebs have dabbled in owning bars or eateries, but a lot of celeb-backed establishments have been forced to shut their doors.

    However, there are a lot of A-listers who are still in business!

    Celebs like Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Eva Longoria, and even Gavin DeGraw — yes, Gavin DeGraw — are all the famous faces of various bars and restaurants that are still thriving!

    See just how many stars own establishments!

    CLICK HERE to view “Celebs Who Own Bars & Restaurants!”

    CLICK HERE to view “Celebs Who Own Bars & Restaurants!”

    CLICK HERE to view “Celebs Who Own Bars & Restaurants!”

    CLICK HERE to view “Celebs Who Own Bars & Restaurants!”

    CLICK HERE to view “Celebs Who Own Bars & Restaurants!”

    [Image via WENN.]

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    14 Things To Know Before Dating An Only Child

    I have heard the aforementioned statement more times in my life than I can count. Yeah, some stereotypes exist for a reason and yeah, maybe I personify a whole shitload of them and at this point in my life I just dont care anymore that Im kind of a walking stand-up joke. There are things you should know before dating a redhead (like always bring sunblock), there are things you should know before dating someone from the MidWest (you only THINK you know cold), and there are things you should know about dating someone who is really into EDM (DONT). The following are a few little heads ups before you get involved with the notoriously most spoiled of all spoiled children.

    1. Were a great plus one to any and all events.

    After years of being dragged along to work parties with our parents or being the only kiddo at a black tie wedding we can pretty much hang anywhere, anytime. We are the queens (and kings) of self-entertainment so you really never have to worry about what were going to do at your business convention.

    2. No, we werent lonely weirdos with no friends.

    This is one of the most annoying assumptions about only children. Just because you have seventeen brothers (which is WAY weirder, btdubs) and we didnt doesnt mean we literally just hung out in a corner of our room crying over the siblings we never had. We are just as socially developed and at times awkward as you, punk.

    3. Its hard to top our gift giving abilities.

    After years of pretty amazing birthdays and Christmases we have got gift-giving down to a damn science. Were the girlfriends and boyfriends who go above and beyond not only because we dont have an army of siblings to also shop for, but because we grew up on the receiving end and now practice what we observed. You are welcome to try and top us but dont be shocked when you never do.

    4. People-Watching is like a sport to us.

    We are perfectly content to just grab a coffee, sit outside, chat and stare at strangers for hours. It rolls back to all of those adult events that we had to attend where we were forced to be seen and not heard and it was before the time of the SmartPhone so we made do with creating imaginary lives for the dudes in suits and ties that we were surrounded by.

    5. Just because were being quiet doesnt mean something is wrong.

    We just know that there is a time and place for being loud and whatever time it was didnt happen to be that. Sometimes you want to go to the bar and shriek about , sometimes you just want to drink your gin and tonic and think about what it would be like to live without electricity. Quiet time is necessary.

    6. Personal space is huge.

    Its not, for lack of a better word, personal. You just have to remember that weve literally never had to cohabitate (college and roommates aside unless youre a total freak like me and weaseled your way to a single in the dorms and lived alone the second you could afford it) with anyone other than our parents so watching someone use our stuff is still a little foreign. And never go through things without asking unless you consider it your own personal suicide mission.

    7. We need alone time.

    Even the most extroverted of us need some serious me time to feel at ease. Its a balancing act for sure. After growing up with tons of alone time its what we need to keep our minds clear, happy, and not super uptight. If you ever see us getting snippy and tense, maybe give us a day to just do laundry and read by ourselves. Well thank you for it.

    8. Were literally the worst to sleep with.

    We never got shoved into a bed with a sibling because of nightmares or sharing a hotel room. We will starfish, hog the covers and pillows, and kick you until the sun comes up. We also will not even be a little sorry about it. Either invest in a bigger bed or try making a pillow Berlin Wall in between our bodies but even that barrier or extra space might not stop us from our sleep awfulness.

    9. Codependency has nothing to do with being an only child.

    That is a personal trait and it not traceable back to the fact that we didnt grow up with another kid in the house. Most only children are actually super-independent and dont have the whole doing things alone complex that most millennials have. We go to movies alone, eat alone, explore new cities alone you name it. In fact, calling us needy or codependent is really quick way to insult us.

    10. Some of us were crazy spoiled, some of us werent.

    Generalizing our entire childhood down to one super, super patronizing word because of our family structure is pretty rude. Just sayin.

    11. Dont assume were single children because something went wrong.

    If youre right: way to bring up something thats obviously incredibly personal and hard to talk about. If youre wrong: way to be a douche. Do yourself a favor and unless its brought up just dont go there.

    12. We will probably get semi-age-inappropriate gifts from mom and dad until were like 40.

    Im twenty-five and I got an Easter basket. COME AT ME BRO.

    13. We talk to ourselves. A lot.

    Youre going to catch us giving our fictional interview to our reflection and its going to be really embarrassing. Youre also going to hear us practicing business pitches and confrontations with friends or just general conversations in the shower. Please dont film it. Please? Thanks.

    14. Because we never had siblings to protect we project that onto our friends.

    Were fiercely loyal and always have your back. We are the first to stand up for somebody and will go down swinging to defend our parents or really anyone else who we care about. If you need anything we will be the first ones there with whatever remedy (ice cream, on DVD, hydrogen peroxide, a partially illegally obtained Xanax honestly anything) in tow. Have an only child on speed dial. Life advice, really.

    You should check out Shop Catalog here.

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    Missed the Interview With Putin? Here Are the Key Takeaways

    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday sat down for a rare interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait. The almost two-hour conversation in the Russian Pacific port city of Vladivostok delved into subjects ranging from the U.S. presidential election to the Syrian civil war, oil prices and state asset sales. 

    Here are the most important takeaways of analysts, investors and academics:

    A Shocking Election

    Putin Decries ‘Shock Tactics’ of Clinton, Trump Campaigns

    Putin Blasts Both Trump and Clinton for Shock Campaign Tactics

    Joerg Forbrig, senior program director of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. in Berlin:

    Here, he is basically saying: look how degenerate American democracy has become. And without having to spell it out, this obviously contrasts sharply with the ever-so-orderly conduct of elections in Russia.

    Second, there is Putins complaint of the anti-Russian card being played in the elections. Although the Russian aspect emerged in the campaign only with the revelations of DNC hacking and Manafort funding, Putin is now portraying this as a central theme in the presidential race. This is effectively, again for Russians, elevating Russia as a central political pole in the world that shapes, by its very existence, the domestic politics even of the U.S., not to mention minor countries.

    It Wasnt Us, But Does That Even Matter?

    Putin Denies Russian Involvement in DNC Hack

    Putin Says DNC Hack Was Public Service, Russia Didnt Do It

    Tim Ash, a strategist at Nomura International in London:

    Theres clearly messaging here for audiences both abroad and home. With him, its all about power and control, making him look bigger and stronger and his opponents weaker.

    There was a period when anyone but Hillary would have been good for him. Maybe thats changed now, because he considers Trump unpredictable, someone who could be difficult to deal with.

    In a way, hes possibly just trying to keep the whole situation warm. Hes trying to give some more momentum to the issue. Its pretty clear that Putin is no friend of Hillary Clinton, he sees her as hawkish, and she is a respected foreign policy person who knows him too well. It is a bit of a dig directed at her.

    For the Russian public, hes saying look at western democracies, look at western ideals. Their politicians have double standards, they arent to be trusted. Duma elections are coming up, so essentially hes making the contrast that we can be trusted, this would never happen in Russia.

    Economy Is Fine, Thanks for Asking

    Putin Assures Russian Reserves Support Foreign Trade

    Putin Says Russias Self-Sufficiency Lets It Skip Bond Dash

    Vladimir Miklashevsky, senior strategist at Danske Bank A/S in Helsinki:

    He sounds quite confident about the economic situation despite a second year of recession. His comment about staying out of the eurobond market was surprisingly confident.

    Putin showed that hes keeping a close eye on the economic issues and the budget, much closer than investors believed before. His words about letting the central bank act freely and his dislike towards capital controls are attractive long-term foreign investors. His encouraging wording about the privatization of Rosneft are also surprisingly positive.

    Id characterize his recent messages as well-thought-out, targeting and encouraging possible long term investors.

    Lets Talk About That Oil Production Cap Again

    Putin Says Oil Output Is Increasing

    Putin Pushes for Oil-Freeze Deal With OPEC, Exemption for Iran

    Mike Coleman, founder of the Singapore-based Merchant Commodity hedge fund:

    “The production freeze doesnt do anything. You are freezing at record production. Its more symbolic, indicating a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran. But to have a meaningful impact on prices, you need a production cut.”

    Making Friends With Japan

    Putin: Compromise Possible With Japan in Islands Dispute

    Putin Sees Opening With Japan on World War II Island Dispute

    James Brown, associate professor at Temple University in Tokyo, who published a book this year on the territorial dispute:

    Its a very clear message to the Japanese side that the Russians are absolutely delighted to do business with them, that they are delighted by Abe going to Vladivostok, but theres absolutely no movement on the territorial issue.

    The key thing for me is that he says that Russia doesnt trade in territories. He also talks about Russias possession of the Kuril Islands being the result of World War II and warns that any effort to revise the results of that conflict would be opening a Pandoras Box, with serious implications for Europe as well as East Asia. Thats also very clearly saying that hes not actually considering anything beyond the 1956 agreement. From the Russian point of view, they dont want to go beyond transferring the two small islands, they dont want to give up territory that Soviet soldiers shed blood for. The Russian position hasnt changed. These attempts by the Japanese side, the offers of economic cooperation, havent led to a shift.

    The Russians see Japan as changing their position, not Russia changing theirs, so there isnt really much cause for optimism from the Japanese side. There will be closer economic ties, there may also be closer security ties, but the territorial dispute will remain fixed.

    Movement Toward a Syria Deal

    Putin Sees Improving Turkey Relations, Progress in Syria

     Putin Says Russia and U.S. Close to Breakthrough on Syria

    Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of London-based consulting firm Cornerstone Global Associates:

    Theyre reaching a point, the U.S. and Russia, where they really want to sort out the Syria crisis. I think there will have to be compromises on both sides and I think this is where its headed to.

    Obviously its not an easy road because youve got Assad. Is he going to stay or not? The likelihood of him having a smaller role is increasing.

    On the other side, who is defined as radical and who is defined as acceptable opposition? That is going to be a very difficult task.

    There will be compromises, and I would say if I were to predict, I think it will be Assad and a part of the opposition that will have to be sacrificed by either side in order to agree on some sort of a settlement.

    Oil Majors for Sale

    Putin Pushes on With Rosneft Sale to Boost Budget Coffers

    Putin Sees Rosneft Sale as Soon as This Year to Ease Budget

    Oleg Kouzmin, chief economist for Russia at Renaissance Capital in Moscow:

    The fact that president mentioned all possible alternatives on privatization signals that the topic is actively discussed and is on the agenda.

    While privatization helps cover the budget deficit, it also corresponds with the strategy of reducing the states share in the economy. And as these two targets coincide and Putin answered in details on the sale of state assets, that tells us that the chances for privatization are higher now.”

    With assistance from Vivian Nereim and Javier Blas.

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    Bayer Sweetens Monsanto Bid Again as Takeover Talks Advance

    Bayer AG sweetened its takeover bid for Monsanto Co. a second time as the German chemical company said its in advanced talks to snare the U.S. seed giant in what would be the largest agriculture-related takeover.

    Bayer would be prepared to pay $127.50 a share provided a negotiated deal can be reached, it said Monday in a statement. The new offer is 2 percent more than Bayers previous bid and 19 percent above St. Louis-based Monsantos last closing price. Theres no assurance an agreement will be reached, Bayer said. A spokeswoman for Monsanto said the company didnt immediately have a comment on the latest proposal.

    The latest offer, which values Monsanto at about $56 billion excluding debt, falls short of some predictions about what the company will have to pay to secure a takeover agreement. Analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein have previously said Monsanto may decide to sell if Bayer raises its offer to $135 a share.

    Bayer made its first offer of $122 a share in May. That was rejected by Monsanto as too low, as was the higher offer of $125 a share made in July, but Monsanto later granted its suitor some access to its financial accounts for the purposes of due diligence ahead of a potentially revised bid. Monsantos shares have declined since Bayers initial bid in May, and closed at $107.44 in New York on Friday. There was no trading Monday because of the Labor Day holiday.

    GMO Pioneer

    The offer from Bayer marks a reversal of roles for the U.S. company. Monsanto has long sought to become a one-stop shop for farmers by boosting its crop chemicals portfolio to complement its seeds business. To that end, it had pursued the purchase of Syngenta AG on at least three separate occasions over the years.

    The crop and seed industry is being reshaped by a series of large transactions that may end up leaving just a few global players who can offer a comprehensive range of products and services to farmers. China National Chemical Corp. agreed in February to acquire Syngenta. Meanwhile, DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co. plan to merge and then carve out a new crop-science unit.

    Global Consolidation

    Monsanto called off its Syngenta bid last year, while more recently it has revived talks to buy BASF SEs agrochemicals unit. Falling crop prices have weighed on Monsantos profits and share price in the past year, making it vulnerable to a takeover.

    Buying Monsanto would give Bayer a company thats both the worlds largest seed supplier and a pioneer of crop biotechnology. The kind of genetically modified seeds that Monsanto started to commercialize two decades ago now account for the majority of corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. Monsanto also sells seeds in foreign markets including Latin America and India.

    The company was founded in 1901 and its first product was saccharin, the artificial sweetener. It produced highly toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, known as PCBs, until the late 1970s, and was also among companies to manufacture the mixture of herbicides known as Agent Orange. In the past two decades it has pioneered the commercialization of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. GMO varieties of corn and soybeans now account for the majority of those crops in the U.S.

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    Hillary Clinton unveils larger campaign plane, with room for reporters

    A new campaign plane for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sits on the tarmac at the Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 5, 2016.
    Image: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

    Hillary Clinton has kept the press at arm’s length throughout her 2016 presidential campaign. But as of Monday, reporters can approach the Democratic nominee while 30,000 feet in the air.

    The Clinton campaign unveiled a new Boeing 737 plane on Labor Day with Clinton’s slogan “Stronger Together” plastered across the side and her “H” logo painted on the tail.

    The former U.S. secretary of state was scheduled to fly on Monday with her press corps to campaign events in Ohio and Illinois, the Associated Press reported.

    Until now, Clinton mainly traveled by private jet, breaking with the common presidential campaign practice of flying in the same aircraft as her traveling press corps.

    Republican nominee Donald Trump has similarly kept reporters, photographers and videographers from joining him aboard Trump Force One.

    Clinton and Trump’s approaches are historically unusual. In previous presidential elections dating back to at least the 1960s candidates would regularly fly to events with reporters.

    Jim Rutenberg, a media columnist for the New York Times, said that allowing press on planes is less about gathering colorful anecdotes and more about the candidate’s future transparency as president.

    This is about something much bigger than eyewitness accounts and plane rides. Its about how much we want to know about each candidates plans for the White House, and how open and accessible we want them to be as president. And ultimately, its about whether we truly believe in the premise that transparency is vital for democracy.

    Clinton’s shift on Monday is particularly significant because the Democratic nominee hasn’t held a formal news conference with journalists since December 2015 in Iowa, according to the AP.

    Trump has gone several steps beyond that: He’s banned the Washington Post, Univision, Buzzfeed and other media outlets from receiving press credentials to cover his campaign events, including news conferences.

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    8 super specific social networks for every interest and hobby

    Image: quizup / goodreads

    Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are great and all, but they can be broad.

    For those who want more specific communities to cater to their odd tastes, a bunch of social networks exist that are designed to be more accessible to those who those who march to the beat of their own drum.

    And important note: not all of these are open yet, or still open in the case of some super-niche entries.

    1. Discuss cars with the Top Gear stars

    Designed for fans of both the late-but-popular Top Gear show and fans of cars in general (not that there isn’t a huge overlap there), the upcoming social network DriveTribe is a personal project of stars Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.

    While information is limited since it’s not ready yet, Clarkson and company have confirmed that users will be able to join a “tribe” led by one of the three stars. It’s currently slated to open up in autumn of this year, around the premiere of the trio’s new show, The Grand Tour.

    2. Show off what books you’re reading

    It may feel strange listing “books” as a niche interest, but in the age of Netflix and the internet, they sort of are.

    The most prominent book-related social network is GoodReads, which besides offering tons and tons of book reviews, helps users find new book recommendations based on which ones they’ve read (which here, also means books they’ve checked off on the site).

    3. A social network for just food pictures

    Without question, food pictures are the cornerstone of the modern photo-sharing site (yes, we mean Instagram). A self-described “Photo journal for all things food,” the Yummi app allows you to post photos of any and all the food you want, without fear of judgement.

    But this is mostly just a food photo journal. If you wanted actual recipe sharing, there’s BakeSpace, which has a more established user base.

    4. Connect with people on your airplane

    If you ever found yourself on an airplane and thinking to yourself, “I really want to talk to other people currently on airplanes,” Virgin America airlines briefly had the answer.

    Using the business networking app Here on Biz, airplane passengers would get enough free wifi to chat not only with other passengers, but with other fliers on Virgin America flights and even the pleasant and excited folks at the airport. Of which there are definitely tons.

    It only seemed to last a few months until July 2014. Virgin America hasn’t spoke much of it since, perhaps because airplanes and airports are eternally full of grouches.

    5. Talk about being super-rich with super-rich people

    Back in 2014, composer and rich person James Touchi-Peters decided that his social media was being cluttered with too many members of the common rabble. And so he created his own, with a $9000 entry fee and a $3000 yearly subscription to keep said rabble from his digital country club.

    Called The Netropolitan Club, it had a brief run before shutting down due to a lack of membership. Apparently, most millionaires and billionaires are perfectly fine with Twitter. Elon Musk certainly is.

    6. Take quizzes while you socially network

    While quiz-taking app QuizUp has been around for awhile, last year the app completed a gradual transition into a social networking app where you can also take tons of quizzes.

    Because QuizUp now contains user searches, comment sections, photo sharing and all the other facets of a standard social network. The app also works to connect you with people who take quizzes about the same topics, allowing you to finally bond with other Walking Dead trivia masters.

    7. Attempt to make digital money by commenting

    If you’ve been concerned that you’re not making any money by tweeting, the creators of Steemit had the same worries. And so the money-making social network was born.

    Styled mostly after sites like Reddit, Steemit allows you to obtain small amounts of “Steem” currency by posting popular threads, or writing out top-rated comments. Your digital money can then be turned into more digital money, because Steem has a conversion service into Bitcoin.

    8. Walk around and catch Pokmon

    Yeah, yeah, of course you’ve heard about Pokmon Go, and it doesn’t market itself as a social network. But it helps you interact with people by going outside, lets you lead gyms that other users can battle against, and has led to tons of events and gatherings.

    Basically, it’s doing social networking better than actual social networks, and even businesses are using it to advertise to users (the real point of social media).

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    Keith Vaz future considered by MPs after allegations – BBC News

    Image copyright AFP
    Image caption Keith Vaz chairs the influential Home Affairs Select Committee

    Labour MP Keith Vaz is due to meet members of the Home Affairs Select Committee for the first time since a newspaper claimed he had paid for the services of two male sex workers.

    Members of the Commons committee will discuss if Mr Vaz, their long-serving chairman, can continue in that role, after facing pressure to resign.

    One committee source told the BBC it would be “far from reality” to suggest that all members want him to carry on.

    Mr Vaz has yet to comment in detail.

    If Mr Vaz does not stand down it is possible that the committee could hold a vote of no confidence.

    Labour MP Kate Hoey has said it would be in the interests of Mr Vaz and Parliament as a whole for him to leave the committee completely.

    She said there should then be an election of a new committee chair involving all MPs.

    Earlier, Prime Minister Theresa May said the public must have confidence in its politicians, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was a “private matter”.

    BBC political correspondent Glenn Campbell says the issue surrounding Mr Vaz means this regular meeting of the committee will begin with a highly irregular item of business.

    Keith Vaz biography

    • Born to Goan parents in Aden, Yemen, he went to Cambridge University where he studied law and then became a solicitor
    • The Labour Party politician has been MP for Leicester East since 1987
    • He is Parliament’s longest-serving British Asian MP and has chaired the influential Home Affairs Select Committee since 2007
    • He was Britain’s Minister for Europe under Tony Blair and said the vote to leave the EU was a “catastrophe”
    • His sister Valerie is Labour MP for Walsall South

    Keith Vaz – the ‘Teflon politician’

    At the weekend, the Sunday Mirror published pictures it said showed Mr Vaz with male sex workers in a flat in north London that he owns. Illegal drugs were mentioned during a secretly recorded conversation.

    Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said he would refer the matter to the Commons Standards commissioner and may also report Mr Vaz to police.

    Married father-of-two Mr Vaz said he was referring the paper’s allegations to his solicitor.

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    Ministers back tax disclosure plan amid pressure from MPs – BBC News

    Image copyright Getty Images
    Image caption Tax campaigners say multinational firms are paying a fraction of their true liabilities

    A cross-party call for multinational companies to publish details of where they do their business and the tax they pay has been agreed by the government.

    The move for greater transparency follows controversy over a deal between the UK government and Google to repay 130m in back taxes earlier this year.

    Ministers have accepted proposals that would oblige Revenue and Customs in principle to release data on tax paid.

    The amendment to the Finance Bill had been backed by 60 MPs.

    Speaking in the Commons during a debate on the proposed legislation, Treasury minister Jane Ellison said the government strongly believed in “greater tax transparency and greater public disclosure of the tax affairs of large businesses”.

    “For these reasons the government fully supports the intentions of the amendment and is supporting its inclusion in the bill,” she added.

    Caroline Flint, the Labour MP who proposed the amendment, said she and her colleagues on the Public Accounts Committee believed the way that global multinationals “play the system denies a fair take for HMRC which impacts on our public services”.

    This, she added, was “very unfair to those British taxpayers and businesses for whom such complicated organisation of their tax affairs is not an option”.

    The Treasury’s “sweetheart deal” with US technology giant Google earlier this year, which covered money owed since 2005, was criticised as derisory by critics. The settlement followed a six-year inquiry by Revenue and Customs.

    Last month, the European Commission ruled that Ireland should recover up to 13bn (11bn) from fellow tech company Apple in back taxes.

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